national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, April 28, 2022


(Right: Ralitza Macheva - Suzette Vorster Photography)

It could have been a ornithologists’ conference as much as a baroque music concert at the Mariannhill Monastery Church last Sunday, with everything from cuckoos to turtledoves and goldfinches, and believe it or not, a chicken popping in the music.

Just goes to show, nearly anything can inspire great music, with birds being an obvious example.

And great music it was with the excellent Baroque 2000 ensemble brining to life some fine compositions from Vivaldi, Daquin, and Rameau.

The highlight of the programme was Antonio Vivaldi’s Summer, from arguably his most popular work, The Four Seasons in G minor.

Vivaldi was an extremely prolific writer with 500 works for all instruments. But mention his name and Four Seasons is most likely to be the first to come to mind.

The depiction of the storm from Summer is a dramatic and exciting section in this work and was played with vigour and verve by the ensemble.

The vivacious Ralitza Macheva was the soloist for this work. She was indeed the summer sunshine in this work. It is always a pleasure to see and hear her play with her animated and ebullient style.

(Left: Evelien Ballantine)

The other soloist on the day was flautist Evelien Ballantine. She performed this role for Vivaldi’s Il Gardelino (the goldfinch) Concerto for Flute Op. 10in D major.

This is a delightful work in three shortish movements. The goldfinch (flute) chirps pretty much flat-out throughout the entire work. The second movement where the flute plays alone with the harpsichord, cello, and bass, is a rather beautiful, tranquil piece of music, and was much enjoyed.

Ballantine is a stalwart of the classic music scene in Durban and proved herself more than equal to the complexities, and the virtuoso sections of this work.

Ballantine and her flute also played a leading role in Louis Claude Daquin’s La Coucou (the cuckoo) – Rondeau. This is a brief work but very enjoyable.

The other items on the programme were Vivaldi’s Alla Rustica Sinfonia Op5 No.4 and Vlème Concert by Jean Philippe Rameau.

It is the later work that provides the sounds of La Poule – the chicken mentioned before. It is also a work that I found a little ponderous for my tastes.

Baroque 2000 never fails to provide quality entertainment and a visit to the Church of the Monastery at Mariannhill on a Sunday morning to hear them perform is a special treat.

Baroque 2000’s plans to present an outdoor concert on April 23 were thwarted by red tape. However, they still hope to do this sometime in the future so keep a look out for the event.

Their next concert at Mariannhill will take place on 22nd May at 11-30am. For further information contact Michel at 0823035241 –

Baroque 2000 is sponsored by Die Rupert Musiekstigting